The Boston Red Sox are at a franchise-altering fork in the road.
The Red Sox reportedly are in negotiations with the San Diego Padres regarding a trade for star outfielder Mookie Betts, who becomes a free agent in 2021.
According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, though, those negotiations have hit a snag.
The Padres are willing to send outfielder Wil Myers, "two young major leaguers and at least one prospect" to the Red Sox in exchange for Betts, Acee reported Monday.
Betts is set to earn $27 million on the final year of his contract, however, so in return for taking on his contract, San Diego wants Boston to take on more of Myers' hefty deal, per Acee:
Myers is owed $61 million over the next three seasons, and the Red Sox are offering to assume about half that. Sources said the Padres would prefer to eat only about a quarter of the money owed Myers in order to take on Betts’ salary.
Acee also listed several major league-level players the Padres are willing to send to Boston, per his sources: outfielders Manuel Margot (a former Red Sox prospect) and Josh Naylor as well as starting pitchers Cal Quantrill and Joey Lucchesi.
A haul of Myers, Margot or Naylor, Quantrill or Lucchessi and a prospect would be a solid return for Betts. If the Red Sox are serious about getting under the $208 luxury tax threshold, though, they may need to keep negotiating.
As The Boston Globe's Alex Speier points out, Chaim Bloom and Co. would be able to get under the luxury tax if they assume about $30 million (half) of Myers' salary but would need to make additional moves if they take on any more of his remaining deal.
If Padres pick up $15M over the remainder of the deal, it’s more like $17M off the payroll, and Sox would need other moves to get below $208 million payroll (as calculated for luxury tax).— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) January 27, 2020
Boston reportedly is also discussing a Betts deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, so it has some leverage. But whether Betts is on the roster this spring may come down to the money.